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Things to consider when buying your 1st pistol for carry:


  1. Size - Compact or subcompact, small enough to carry concealed all day, comfortably.

    1. For home defense full size handguns. Concealibility is not an issue at home.

  2. Weight - The gun shouldn't be too heavy (uncomfortable when you're carrying it 24/7/365), neither too light (more felt recoil).

  3. Ammo capacity - The more ammo capacity the better. This is a big reason why I prefer semi-auto handguns over revolvers. But revolvers are undeniably the most reliable. It's the hard trade-off! Good quality semi-autos are very reliable.

  4. Kinetic energy of the cartridge - You want a round that has decent kinetic energy. 380 ACP or 38 special are the smallest caliber that we'd recommend carrying (unless you have severe physical disability that makes the recoil intolerable). 9mm is our personal choice for carry and issued for duty carry.

  5. AmmoJacketed hollow points (JHP) are for self defense. Stick to JHP that are used by the professionals (Federal, Remington, Speer, Winchester, and Hornady are widely accepted ammo manufacturers)

    1. Full metal jackets (FMJ) are for target practice. 

    2. Stay away from reloads, unless you trust the reloader with your life

    3. 9mm/38 special are our preferred pistol self defense cartridge.

    4. Only use +P and +P+ if your gun is rated for it. Also know that +P and +P+ loads increase felt recoil, which may have a negative impact on accuracy & precision.

    5. Shot placement is more important than the caliber chosen. But do NOT use this fact as justification to carry a 22LR for self defense, unless your attacker is a varmint that weighs less than 10 lbs! (smile) ​If you have a medical condition and are very recoil sensitive then 22LR pistol is better than being unarmed! 

  6. Get a good quality holster (kydex or leather). Our preference is a good kydex IWB (Inside the waistband) holster for concealed carry.

  7. Concealed carry is better than Open carry (in most civilian defensive scenarios). The element of surprise can be a good advantage.

  8. Train often. Seek additional training. Basic pistol training is Basic. There's a lot more to be gun/fighting knowledge to be learned & skills that need to be improved and refined.

  9. Personal opinion for simplicity - Stick to striker fired or hammer fired guns for carry (DA/SA or Double Action Only). Avoid single action (1911 platform or SA revolvers) for carry. DA/SA guns are a happy medium if your dead set on getting a hammer fired gun.

    Recommendations for a everyday carry gun:


  • Excellent or good guns! Great options!

    • Glock 19 gen 5, Glock 17 gen 5, G26 gen 5, G43X, Glock 48 (Gen 5 Glock models are ambidextrous)

    • Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Compact 2.0 or S&W M&P Shield 2.0 9mm  (2.0 models are ambidextrous)

    • Sig Sauer (Sig P320 compact, Sig P365, Sig P365XL, Sig P229 or P226 9mm), H&K VP9 (ambidextrous), H&K VP9SK (ambidextrous), and Walther PPQ, Walther PPS M2 ( are all great!) 

    • Ruger, Beretta, FNH, CZ, Springfield, and Canik are also good manufacturers.

  • Some of the manufacturers we've mentioned also make revolvers. Our preferred caliber for revolvers is 38 special or 357 mag.

  • Mediocre guns and/or sub-mediocre guns. Not great, but better than nothing. 

    • Taurus, Kahr, Bersa

    • S&W SDVE ( S&Ws low end model, previously S&W Sigma model)

    • Kel-tec

  • Guns manufacturers to AVOID at all cost!​​

    • Hi-Point Firearms. 30-40% of Hi-Point handguns experienced multiple malfunctions in our courses. Those students were unable to complete the course with their Hi-Point handgun. 

    • Jimenez Arms

    • Cobra

    • Phoenix Arms

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